GARFIELD HEIGHTS — If the stars fall in line today, returning Northeast Ohio Conference champion should wrestle returning Northeast Ohio Conference champion in the finals and returning state placer should meet returning state placer.
That it should come at the same weight class (120) makes things interesting as both Elyria’s Armando Torres and Brunswick’s Josh Heil did everything they could to ensure it happens.
To add yet another wrinkle, Heil beat Torres just two weeks ago at the Bill Dies Memorial Tournament in a 6-4 overtime thriller.
Torres was up 4-1 in the Dies match with five seconds left, but got hit with a stalling call and was reversed at the buzzer before losing in the extra session.
It’s a match both remember well, but for different reasons.
“It’s been eating at me ever since,” said Torres, who went on to finish fifth. “I really haven’t gotten it out of my head yet. I’ve been looking forward to this because I knew I would get my second chance here.
“It was a questionable stalling call. But I blame myself because after that my head wasn’t right in the overtime. That was my fault 100 percent.”
Heil, who finished runner-up to Brecksville two-time state placer Austin Assad at the Dies, has used his win over the two-time NOC champion as motivation moving forward.
But even Heil knows, you’re only as good as your last match and that opponents learn from every loss.
“I tried a bad move against him in the first period and never made that big-time move that you try at sectional, districts and states,” said Heil, who finished third at state last year. “We go all out. Every match counts. You want to know as much about your opponent as you can going into state, you feel them out and then use what you know at state.
“I feel like I have the biggest motivation out of anyone because I haven’t won state. I want to win every match, so I have to treat every match like it’s a state final. I have confidence. I know that I can beat him.”
Torres, who finished runner-up at state last year, feels the same way, which is why he’s not looking past Garfield Heights’ Nate Louis in the semifinals. Part of that is because of his semifinal loss at the Dies to Heil.
“Every time I go on the mat I’m trying to win,” Torres said. “When I try to win, I’m using my best stuff. There’s no holding back. He works on stopping what I’m good at, but I should be good at countering it. I’m out to send a message.
“You have to take one match at a time. That’s my focus. You can’t look past it. I might have looked past (Heil) to Assad at the Dies. You have to look at everyone the same way.”
Torres has something else working for him as he can join Solon’s Brandon Thompson — a four-time conference champion — Twinsburg’s Mike Labry and Comets Anthony Collica as the only three-time champs in the seven-year history of the event.
“That would be really cool,” Torres said. “We have one of the toughest conferences in the state. That’s an accomplishment I look forward to, but I’m concentrating on this next match. If I lose this year, none of those other ones mean anything.”
Elyria sends Torres, Mikah Price (138), Darrion Overall (145), Ben Darmstadt (152), J.T. Brown (170), Connor Kamczyz (220) and Kevin Vough (285) into the semifinals.
Brunswick, which is up 28 points in the team race, counters with Heil, D.J. Skiba (106), Brett Thomas (126), Nicky Kuissis (132), Christian Camacho (138), Brandon Bryant (160), Aaron Naples (170), Mike Bekeny (182), Dean Warchak (195) and Matt Perdue (220) joining Heil in the semifinals.
“We’ve been champions (in 2009 and ’11) so we want to keep that going,” Overall said. “It’s a big day for us. We need to look for bonus points and keep those championships coming. “We need to do whatever we can to win. It would be a great feeling to have the championship back.”
Wrestling begins this morning at 11.
Contact Brad Bournival at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
TEAM STANDINGS: Brunswick 120, Elyria 92, Garfield Heights 71.5, Solon 66, Mentor 65, Parma 64.5, North Royalton 58, Hudson 53, Cuyahoga Falls 51, Twinsburg 48.5, Strongsville 47, Medina 44.5, Stow 43, Shaker Heights 42.5, Mayfield 24, Normandy 18, Valley Forge 15, Brush 6.
106: Aaron Cintron (Nor) vs. Luke Dimuzio (Twin); D.J. Skiba (Brun) vs. Harry Freuer (May); 113: Austin Victor (Men) vs. Ray Porter (Str); Daniel Clement (Sol) vs. Andre Herron (NR); 120: Armando Torres (Ely) vs. Nate Louis (Gar); Jeremy Rezabek (Str) vs. Josh Heil (Brun); 126: Brett Thomas (Brun) vs. Mark Molder (Men); David Erdelac (Str) vs. Micah Shorts (SH); 132: Chris Motter (Hud) vs. Nicky Kuissis (Brun); Chris Wymer (Sol) vs. Chayse Csongedi (Par); 138: Cole Oldham (CF) Mikah Price (Ely); Christian Camacho (Brun) vs. Dane Morgan (NR); 145: Kyle Workman (Par) vs. Darrion Overall (Ely); Austin Tomoletz (Men) vs. Ach Defraine (Med); 152: Ben Darmstadt (Ely) vs. Xavier Wasco (NR); Noah Edwards (Twi) vs. Nick Planicka (Sto); 160: Michael Coleman (Hud) vs. Cam Mayell (NR); Brandon Bryant (Bru) vs. David Celinski (GH); 170: Craig Slone (GH) vs. Aaron Naples (Brun); Bucky Hendershot (CF) vs. JT Brown (Ely); 182: Mike Lewis (Par) vs. Mike Bekeny (Brun); Austin Peak (Med) vs. Jeff Christian (Sol); 195: Dean Warchak (Brun) vs. Matt Driver (Par); Austin Wilson (CF) vs. Aaron Wank (Men); 220: Rudy Ware (CF) vs. Connor Kamczyz (Ely); Matt Perdue (Brun) vs. Garrett Snyder (NR); 285: Aaron Crosby (VF) vs. Kevin Vough (Ely); Staci Wilson (Sol) vs. Samson Demand (CF).